Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The End is Near!

The semester is just about over. Our last day is this Friday, and then we'll re-open on January 2, 2008.

Here's our schedule for this week:

Monday: 10am - 9pm
Tuesday: 10am - 9pm
Wednesday (last day of final exams): 10am - 9pm
Thursday: 10am - 5pm
Friday (our last day until 1/2/08): 10am - 5pm

Have a great holiday and we'll see you in the new year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Trashing Posters

Just a quick FYI. Lots of people have printed posters here in the lab and then never picked them up. We'll be throwing out any and all posters left in the lab on December 21. If you have a poster here, please pick it up ASAP.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Staying Late

Please be sure to thank the lab consultants who have been voluntarily staying past closing time at 9pm so that everyone can work on their assignments.

Please keep in mind that this is a special, end-of-the-semester thing, where we do our best to stay open to give people as much lab time as possible, and our official closing time remains 9pm.

Also, please give yourself plenty of time to save your work (video, in particular, can take quite a while) before the announced time that the lab consultant on duty has said s/he's going to be closing the lab. Otherwise, you might have to take your chances and leave your project saving overnight.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

iChat Videoconferencing Demo

Friday at noon, we will hold a Technically Speaking session in the Weigle Information Commons in the Van Pelt Dietrich Library Center on the new iChat videoconferencing software for Macs.

Connect anywhere using the built-in video camera and Internet-based videoconferencing. The new version of iChat includes video backdrops, Photo Booth effects, photo slideshows and sharing of Keynote presentations and movies. iChat builds on the capabilities of Apple’s new Leopard operating system. Presented by Mike Wolk, Apple Systems Engineer.

Friday, December 7, 2007 at 12:00 noon, in the WIC Seminar Room.
This is a free and open session. There's no need to register in advance!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Art Exhibit at the Rotunda this Thursday!

I thought I'd mention that there's an exhibition opening this Thursday at the Rotunda (Walnut Street, just west of 40th) featuring work by one of our lab consultants (Nick Salvatore) and two former lab consultants (Jesse Harding and Michael Highland) and a few frequent users of the lab, as well. (A chili cook-off is also mentioned, but I never know how seriously to take these things.) Here's the info. See you all there!

Join eleven artists for the opening reception of Extra-Personal Science, an exhibition of site-specific installations that activate the space of the historic Rotunda.

Fatema Abdoolcarim
Lauren A. Every-Wortman
JiaJia Fei
Laura Goldberg
Jesse A. Harding
Michael Highland
Antonio McAfee
Nick Salvatore
Manya Scheps
Artie Vierkant
Liz Yohlin

Opening reception (and chili cookoff):
Thursday, December 6, 5-7 pm

Additional viewing hours:
Friday 12-5 pm
Saturday 5-7 pm
Sunday 12-5 pm

Massive III: starting at 7 pm
Video Hippos
Audio/Visual Performance

Monday, December 3, 2007


We're swamped!! (get it?? Creature from the black lagoon? Swamped?? I slay me.) When we opened the lab this morning at 10am, there were people who had already been waiting an hour to get in.

It's the end of the semester, so lots of assignments are all coming due at the same time, and of course, everyone waits until the last minute to do their work.

We'd just like to ask two things of lab users:

1) Please be patient. The lab is first-come, first-served, and right now the best way to get a machine is either to show up right at 10am when we open, or to grab a seat and wait for a workstation to free up.

2) Please try to limit your lab time to academic uses to give everyone a chance to finish their assignments on time.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

UPenn Nude Art Auction

One of our most frequent lab users told us about an art auction on campus this Friday, November 30 from 6-9pm at Meyerson Hall. The art is "nude-themed" (ok, there's not THAT much "nude" art, but there are a few pieces, and all of the art is worth making the trip over to Meyerson to see). In addition to art by Penn faculty and MFA students, they will also be featuring works by: Terry Adkins, Gabriel Martinez, Sarah McEneaney, Joshua Mosley, John Moore, Eileen Neff, Demetrius Oliver, Robert Pruitt, Zoe Strauss, Jane Irish, and more.

The auction preview, for those of you who would like to see the art in advance of the actual auction, as already begun, and is being held from 9am-5pm today and tomorrow in Meyerson Hall.

Proceeds benefit the MFA class of 2008 Thesis Exhibition

Shirt and Shoes required (no, really.)

More info at http://www.design.upenn.edu/new/about/eventsdetail.php?eid=556

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Greater Philadelphia Student Film Festival 2007

The Greater Philadelphia Student Film Festival has extended their deadline to November 30. Not much time, if you haven't already started, but maybe you've already created a video that's appropriate for submission.

More info at http://www.gpsff.com/index.html

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Be sure to ask the lab consultant for a piece of candy today!

Monday, October 8, 2007

The 2007 Insomnia Film Festival

The Insomnia Film Festival is back—and while the world sleeps, you could be making film history.

Calling all high school and college filmmakers.

On Saturday, October 13 at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern time), Apple will post a top-secret list of elements — special props, dialogue, settings — you get the idea. Choose any three to include in your movie. Then all you and your team have to do is write, cast, shoot, edit, score, and upload your 3-minute masterpiece within 24 hours. No problem, right?

Once the films are in, your friends, family, and adoring fans will be able to watch them online and rate their favorites. The 25 entries with the highest rating on November 9 at 12:00 a.m. EST will be screened by industry professionals, including Barry Sonnenfeld, James Mangold, and Nora Ephron.

If your film is the biggest hit with either the public or the pros, each member of your team will receive a MacBook Pro, Final Cut Studio 2, Logic Studio, and Shake so you can get started on that first sequel. How’s that for a Hollywood ending?

You must register in advance, so if you even THINK you MIGHT be interested, please register ASAP at http://www.apple.com/education/insomnia/

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Adding YouTube videos to your iMovie project

[UPDATE, FEB 2010: THESE INSTRUCTIONS APPLY TO iMOVIE HD/06. FOR INSTRUCTIONS ON USING YOUTUBE CLIPS IN iMOVIE 09, see http://wic.library.upenn.edu/multimedia/tutorials/youtube_imovie09.pdf]

We've received many many questions about adding clips from YouTube to iMovie projects. And until now, we haven't been able to do that in the lab. But today we've started to add that functionality to the lab workstations thanks to a free, open-source plugin for QuickTime Pro called Perian. Basically, the steps are:

1. Download the YouTube FLV file to your workstation using a service like keepvid.com
2. Export the FLV file to a QuickTime file with QuickTime Pro and Perian
3. Import the resulting QuickTime file into iMovie.

Keep in mind that YouTube video is notoriously low quality, but when you don't have a source of high-quality video, this method will do in a pinch.

Right now, Perian is installed only on the lab consultant's machine, so if you need to use a YouTube clip in your iMovie project, just ask the lab consultant on duty for help. We'll be installing Perian on the remaining lab workstation in the coming days. We'll also post a step-by-step tutorial so you'll be able to do it all without the help of a lab consultant.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Workshops this week

The lab will be closed this week:

  • Monday, October 1, Noon-1pm
  • Tuesday, October 2, 1pm-3pm
  • Wednesday, October 3, 3:30pm-5pm

For classes and workshops.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

iWeb Workshop!!

This Friday, September 28, from noon - 1pm, we will be holding a free workshop on how to use Apple's iWeb software, which is available in the Digital Media Lab, and comes free with every Macintosh computer.

iWeb makes it easy to create a website that’s stunningly beautiful — and totally you. Start with an Apple-designed theme, then customize it with your own text, photos, movies, and podcasts until it’s exactly what you want. And switch themes with a click anytime.

Apple's own Mike Wolk will be teaching the workshop in the Seminar Room in the Weigle Information Commons. Walk-ins are welcome and no registration is necessary! See you this Friday!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Acetate Connection

Scrrraaaaattttcchhhhhhh! That's the sound of car keys on the scanner. If you're scanning anything other than books, magazines, or other paper products, please be extra careful with the scanner. Ask the lab consultant on duty for a piece of clear acetate (ok, technically it's "Dura-lar, the acetate alternative") to put down under the items you're scanning--like car keys, candy, paper clips, your hands and face, pens and pencils, iPods, scissors, staplers, and so forth--so we can keep the scanner glass clean and scratch-free.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sheet Feeder Broken

Alas, the sheet feeder on our scanner is broken. kaput. dead. gone. 6 feet under. This is an ex-sheet feeder. (or maybe it's just pining for the fjords.) When you try to use it, either it doesn't feed the paper, or it actually chews the paper up. We've tried everything but have finally given up. The manufacturer's website (I still can't believe this) actually recommends hitting the scanner to fix this problem. And we did hit it. Several times, in fact, before we even knew we were supposed to. :) Anyhoo...

The flatbed part of the scanner still works fine. We're working on replacing the sheet feeder functionality with a dedicated sheet-fed scanner, which will hopefully be much faster than the one we've had all along.

Update: Thanks to Pat Heller for the following information:
Wharton Reprographics will do scanning for you

Basement of Steinberg Dietrich
3620 Locust Walk
Suite 400

$7.00 per ¼ hr. labor fee

Thursday, September 13, 2007

iMovie tip

All you guys with your own Mac laptops and desktops: remember that iMovie comes free on every Mac, so you can capture your footage here in the lab and then transfer it to your own computer. That way you can work on it whenever you want, without having to worry about walking all the way to the library, or whether the lab is full when you need to edit your movie.

If you have a laptop, just bring it in and we can help you capture video footage directly to your computer, or we can transfer it to your computer with our portable hard drive. For those of you with desktop machines, you'll need a hard drive of your own to take your footage back to your dorm room.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Lab Closings Page

We've added a new webpage that lists all scheduled lab closings, such as when we offer open workshops to the general Penn public, or we close when a class needs to use the lab. We're hoping this helps people avoid coming to the lab only to be disappointed when they find it's closed for a class. Since we add workshops in an ongoing way during the semester, the page is somewhat dynamic and may not always be totally completely 100% up-to-date, but I promise we'll do our best. You can find the page here:


and linked from the sidebar on the right side of the blog you're reading.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Storm Worm virus alert

Given the popular nature of downloading free music and movies, we just wanted to pass along the following security alert from the University's Information Security Officer regarding the Storm Worm virus:

Today the Storm worm switched to new bait that might prove irresistible for some segments of campus.

The worm arrives in your email inbox as spam, warning that the RIAA is tracking you if you download free movies or music. You are pointed to a link to download Tor, a popular anonymous internet routing implementation. But if you follow the instructions, you infect your machine with the Storm worm. Your machine is then drafted into a network of hacked machines used to crash popular websites and carry out identity theft attacks. Other versions of the scam send the Storm worm as an email attachment rather than send you to the web.

Other Storm worm bait that has hooked victims include: -Bogus email warning that your face is all over YouTube. If you click on the purported YouTube link, you're asked to first install a video codec (which, in truth, is the Storm worm).

-Bogus email informing you that an account has been created for a free music/movie service. The email includes an account name and a password and instructs you to log on, but first you need to install a (bogus) media player. Same result: Storm worm infection.

-Bogus email forged to look like it's from Amazon (or EBay, or PayPal, or many large banks) warning you that you have unpaid fees (or that your purchase is (in)complete, or that your information is out of date). If you click on the bogus link and follow the instructions: Storm worm.

-Bogus email announcing that you have an electronic greeting card. Same result as above.

-Bogus email with news announcing "Chinese (or Russian) missile (or satellite) shot down by Russian (or Chinese) satellite (or missile)"

-Bogus email announcing "Saddam Hussein (or Fidel Castro) is alive (or dead)."

All the usual advice applies:

Be wary of unsolicited email asking you to click on links or to install software. If you think it might be legitimate, type the URL into your browser rather than click on the link. Or check it out by calling the organization using a phone number from a service like switchboard.com.

Electronic greeting cards are highly suspect these days. If you don't recognize the sender, hit "delete". (If it's a secret admirer, don't worry, they'll eventually find you.)

Be wary of email with links to outlandish news stories. If you get email claiming that Jimmy Hoffa's body was uncovered by a road crew on I-95 below the Commodore Berry, don't click on the link. Instead, point your browser at your favorite news site.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Shortened Hours This Week

Welcome back! The lab will have shortened hours this week while we hire new lab consultants and gear up for the semester. This week only, our hours will be

Tuesday-Friday, September 4-7: 10am - 6pm
Saturday, Sunday, September 8,9: Noon - 6pm

We hope to be back to our regular hours starting next week! Stay Tuned!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Workshop this Wednesday

The Digital Media Lab will be closed Wednesday, August 15, 12pm to 2 pm for an iMovie workshop.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Lab closings this week

The lab will be closed Monday, August 6, 11am - 1pm and Tuesday, August 7, 10:30am-12:30pm for classes.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Gmail: A Behind the Scenes Video

All you creative lab users might be interested in a collaborative video project that the friendly folks at Google's GMail are working on. Basically, just film your own (10-seconds or less) clip and submit it.

Details are here:


It's a short and simple enough project that anybody should be able to come up with something. All it takes is the most basic iMovie skills (which we can help you with!) and a little imagination (you're on your own for that one.)

The deadline is August 13. If you do submit a clip, be sure to let us know and we'll feature it right here in the most popular blog in the whole lab!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Good Luck Frog

Julia, one of our biggest lab users, brought us back a good-luck frog from her recent trip to Japan. We've put the frog on our bulletin board (and our blog, as you can see), so hopefully the luck will spread to everyone doing work here in the lab.

Lab closed for a class 7/30, 8/1, and 8/2

The lab will be closed this week on Monday, July 30 from 2:30 until 4:30pm, on Wednesday, August 1 from 10 until noon, and on Thursday, August 2 from 2:30 until 4:30 for a class.

Reimaging the Lab

We've started the process of reimaging the workstations in the Digital Media Lab. Basically, this means we wipe everything off the hard drive and replace it with a fresh, updated copy of the software. This means you need to be especially careful right now not to leave your files on the local computer. If you need us to store them for you on our server, be sure to tell the lab consultant on duty so we can make sure they don't get deleted.

One of the most exciting changes that the reimaging process will bring to the lab is that we'll have the Adobe CS3 software. This includes Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, Bridge, Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, and Contribute. We will continue to have the CS2 versions of InDesign and GoLive.

As I write this, only one machine has been updated (4B), but we'll be updating the rest in the coming week or so.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lab closed for a class

The lab will be closed this week on Wednesday, July 25, from noon to 2pm for a class.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Glossy Paper

I have some good news and some bad news. The BAD news is that we're still out of glossy paper due to a backorder situation with our supplier. The GOOD news is that we should have some more by this Wednesday. Cross your fingers!

Friday, July 6, 2007

We do it just a little bit better

Our lab consultant, Jesse H., just got a new tattoo:

No, you're not seeing things. Yes, that's the old Wawa logo. No, he wasn't drunk when he got it. Yes, if you ask him, he'll show it to you.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Workshops, Week of June 18-22

Just a reminder that the lab will be closed Tuesday, June 19 from 2-3:30 for a workshop on Audacity and Podcasting, and Thurssday, June 21 from 1-3pm for an iMovie workshop.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Workshops, Week of June 11-15

Just a reminder that the lab will be closed Tuesday, June 12 from 2-3:30 for an iMovie workshop and Wednesday, June 13 from 1-3pm for a Photoshop workshop.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Workshops, week of June 4-8

Just a reminder that the lab will be closed Wednesday, June 6 from 2-4pm for an iMovie workshop and Thursday, June 7 from noon-2pm for a Photoshop workshop.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Summer Workshops!

We're offering workshops this summer on how to use iMovie and how to use Photoshop. The workshops are very introductory and assume no prior knowledge of the software. Be sure to sign up for a spot online, or see our other workshops HERE!

Creating and editing movies with iMovie
  • May 23, 1 to 3 pm Wednesday
  • June 6, 2 to 4 pm Wednesday
  • June 21, 3 to 5 pm Thursday
  • July 10, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm Tuesday
  • July 25, 12 to 2 pm Wednesday
  • August 7, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm Tuesday
  • August 15, 12 to 2 pm Wednesday
This class will provide an hands-on introduction to using Apple's iMovie software, which is available for Penn students, faculty, and staff in the Vitale Digital Media Lab. You will learn how to capture video from a DVD, VHS tape, or from your own video camera. You will learn to organize or delete video clips, add a new soundtrack, add subtitles, and create special effects. All sessions are identical.

PhotoShop I
  • June 7, 12 noon to 2 pm Thursday
  • June 13, 1 to 3 pm Wednesday
  • July 18, 12 to 2 pm Wednesday
  • August 1, 10 am to 12 noon Wednesday
  • August 6, 11 am to 1 pm Monday
A basic introduction to this powerful image editing software. Learn how to open image files, use the toolbox and palettes, convert formats and manage multiple layers. All sessions are identical.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Summer Hours!

This Friday marks the end of our regular lab hours. We'll be open this summer, but with more limited hours. Starting May 21, our regular schedule will be:

Monday - Thursday: 10am - 7pm
Friday: 10am - 5pm
Saturday : 11am - 5pm
Sunday : CLOSED

We'll also be closed for Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day.

Click on the "lab hours" link in the sidebar of this page to get more information, or call us at 215-746-2661.

Nick's Show

One of everybody's favorite lab consultants, Nick Salvatore, is having an art show opening tonite, displaying some of his recent photography. It's tonite from 6pm-9pm at Photo West Gallery, 3625 Lancaster Street. The show also contains work done by 2 or 3 other people who did work here in the lab. Nick writes:

I'm writing to let you know about an awesome art show opening tonight (Wednesday, May 2nd) that you might enjoy if you've got nothing better to do. It's a group show of photo-things revolving around the body and the nude. And I've got things in it. (A whole bunch of things, if I can get them on the wall in time.) Regardless, there's a wide range of great work on display and there's sure to be something for all interests. I'd love to see you there if you can make it.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Matte Only

[Update: We're back in the glossy business, everyone. So print those shiny posters til your heart's content.]

We're out of glossy paper again! Apparently, news of our poster printer has spread around campus, and somehow you people managed to go through 5 huge rolls of poster paper in less than a month. Anyhoo... we're in the process of ordering more, but it will be at least tuesday before any arrives, so we're down to our last 2 rolls of matte paper until then.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Help is on the way!

As I'm sure you've noticed, the lab has been extra busy lately, with everyone working on their end-of-the-semester projects. So we're scheduling extra lab consultants so that we have two people on duty in the lab in the afternoons.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Make a great Poster with PowerPoint!

Trying to create a poster to explain your research project to others? Wondering how to make a powerful visual statement? We will explore designing your poster in Power Point. We will look at page size options, font and color choices, Word Art, Autoshapes and drawing tools. Bring your poster information with you as well as your personal laptop if appropriate. We will share tips and tricks for poster formatting, show examples and discuss preparing a PDF for printing here in the Vitale Digital Media Lab or similar facility. This is a hands-on workshop. It will be held in the Class of 1968 Seminar Room (room 124) in the Information Commons.

Sign up Online!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Poster Printer FAQ

For those of you working on posters, we've created an FAQ all about the poster printer here in the lab. It includes information on everything from pricing to which fonts you should use, to where you can get your poster laminated. We've linked it in the sidebar on the right, from the main Weigle Information Commons page, and right beneath the sentence you're reading now.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Gonna Make you Sweat

The library is upgrading one of the air handlers that affects the Information Commons on Monday and Tuesday, April 2 and 3. Ultimately, this airflow upgrade is expected to improve circulation within the Commons rooms and help with temperature control. But on the days the work is being done, we expect the Commons to be considerably warmer than usual and it may get unfomfortable. We've been told that the lab probably won't be affected, but you never know with these things, so you might want to wear light clothing if you need to work in the lab or in the commons on those days. You can email wic1@pobox.upenn.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Glossy Paper Deficit

[Update: We're back in business with all the glossy paper you could ever need.]

We're all out of glossy paper for the poster printer. We've ordered more (5 rolls, in fact, so we won't run out again for the rest of the school year.) We're hoping to have it Thursday or Friday of this week. We do still have plenty of matte paper. Otherwise, we recommend Kinkos or Campus Copy if you're in a hurry and you have your heart set on that glossy look.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

College House Film Festival 2007

The 2007 College House Student Film Festival is still seeking submissions. There's a $500 prize, so I'd say it's worth entering. You can even submit a film that you made for a class in the last calendar year. Maybe you don't think your movie is good enough? Well let someone else decide. You've got nothing to lose and $500 to gain.

All films should be turned in to Ryan Crocetto, House Coordinator in Fisher Hassenfeld College House, by 5pm this Friday, March 23. Ryan's mailbox is located at the Information Center of Fisher Hassenfeld, Room 103, Class of '87 in the Quad. For submission forms and complete rules, see http://www.collegehouses.upenn.edu/filmfest/

Friday, March 16, 2007

34th Street Cover

Our very own Keith McKnight created the cover for this week's 34th Street insert in the Daily Pennsylvanian. Keith made it in Photoshop, right here in the Digital Media Lab. Congrats, Keith!

We have the issue of 34th street, along with an enlargement of the image, hanging on our bulletin board for those of you who'd like to take a closer look.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Black and White Printer is Down!

[Update: The black and white printer is back up and running in the lab, thanks to the good folks in the Library's IT department.]

The black-and-white printer in the lab has been on the blink since late last week. We've called it in for service. In the meantime, you can continue to run b&w print jobs from the lab, but you will need to go out to the printers in the Information Commons to swipe your PennCard and get your documents. We hope to be back up and running ASAP.

The color printer and poster printer are unaffected.

Lab will be unavailable...

Hey guys. We're holding some classes in the lab over the next couple weeks, so it will be unavailable:
  • Tuesday, 3/13 from noon-2pm
  • Wednesday, 3/14 from 10am-n00n
  • Thursday, 3/15 from noon-1:30pm
  • Tuesday, 3/20 from 1:30pm-3pm
  • Thursday, 3/22 from 3pm-4:30pm
  • Tuesday, 3/27 from 1:30pm-3pm
Sorry for any inconvenience!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

More iMovie Workshops

The first set of iMovie workshops were so successful that we've decided to hold a few more, hoping to meet the demand.

You'll create and edit your own movies, right here in the lab. You'll be learning to capture video from a DVD, VHS tape, or from your own video camera. You will learn to organize or delete video clips, add a new soundtrack, add subtitles, and create special effects. You will also learn how to create a professional-looking DVD with menus that will play in your home DVD player so that you can share your masterpiece with others.

This is also a great opportunity for anyone interested in the Mashup contest, but who hasn't had the video-editing skills they needed.

The class lasts 2 hours, and will be held the following times:

Tuesday, March 6, 12 to 2 pm
Wednesday, March 7, 10 to noon
Tuesday, March 13, 12 to 2 pm
Wednesday, March 14, 10 to noon

Be sure to sign-up online to reserve yourself a spot.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Copyright and Fair Use Overview

At our most recent iMovie workshop, we briefly discussed various copyright-related issues as they apply to using video clips. Alex mentioned a website at Stanford that gives a good overview of copyright and fair use, and I promised to post it here to the blog. So here it is:


Friday, February 23, 2007

Student Open House

[Update: Thanks to everyone who attended. We got a lot of feedback and some good suggestions. ]

The Information Commons is holding an Open House on Monday, February 26, 2007, from Noon to 1:30 pm. We'll be serving light refreshments (see how I put that in boldface? I know from experience that free food is a big draw for Penn students). Basically we're looking for any students (grad or undergrad) with an opinion about the Info Commons. We want to know what you think we're doing right and what you think we're doing wrong. The event will be held in the Seminar Room, rm 124 in the Info Commons, right next to the elevators. So please drop in for a few minutes, and bring a few friends with you!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


That's an anagram for "Fun with Anagrams." I came in this morning and discovered that some unnamed person had written the names of several lab consultants on the white board and rearranged them to form more...interesting words.

As you can see, in at least some of these cases, the anagrams appear to form an accurate description of the lab consultant:

Alexander J. Meyer ==> Relaxed Jar Enemy
Nick Salvatore ==> Venal Art Sicko
Jesse A. Harding ==> Jihads Enrages
Robert Keith McKnight ==>Herb Trick Ghetto Mink

Here's a photo (click for full-size):

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Introduction to iMovie Workshops!

We're going to be holding a few introductory workshops on creating and editing your own movies, right here in the lab. You'll be learning to capture video from a DVD, VHS tape, or from your own video camera. You will learn to organize or delete video clips, add a new soundtrack, add subtitles, and create special effects. You will also learn how to create a professional-looking DVD with menus that will play in your home DVD player so that you can share your masterpiece with others.

This is also a great opportunity for anyone interested in the Mashup contest, but who hasn't had the video-editing skills they needed.

The class lasts 2 hours, and will be held the following times:

Tuesday, Feb 13, 10am to 12noon
Tuesday, Feb 20, 1 pm to 3 pm
Wednesday, Feb 21, 6 pm to 8 pm
Wednesday, Feb 28, 4 pm to 6 pm

Be sure to sign-up online to reserve yourself a spot.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Mask and Wig + Digital Media Lab

As you know, the lab is open to all Penn students, faculty, and staff. We even get student groups who come in to work on their websites or posters or programs or videos. Well, I'm sure you're as excited as we are that venerable comedy troupe Mask and Wig has used the software and the poster printer here in the Vitale Digital Media Lab to create signs that are actually being used in their Spring show, "Troy Story: You Odyssey It To Believe It!" (I'm told that's some sort of humorous pun) So be sure to check out their show. You can buy tickets on the walk, or at the Mask and Wig website.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

VR Tour of the Lab

We've assembled this QuickTime VR movie of the lab. To view it, just click and drag in the middle of the image below:

You'll also notice a few hotspots in the movie. For example, if you put your mouse on the door to the lab, you'll see a description right under the movie that says, "Lab entrance." Point to other things to see what equipment we have available in the lab. (We didn't bother labelling the computers themselves, since we thought they were fairly self-explanatory). You can also zoom in and out using the + and - buttons below the movie.

Thanks to the Steve Fabiani at Penn Classroom Technology for lending us their tripod!

New Lab Consultant

Welcome to Jesse Harding, our newest lab consultant. Jesse is a Visual Studies major from Oregon and a DJ on WQHS, and we're glad to have him with us here in the lab!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lab Reservations, Jan 31 & Feb 1

The lab is closed on Wednesday, Jan 31 from 4:30pm - 6:00pm for a class, and again on Thursday, Feb 1, from 3:00pm -4:30pm. Please try to plan around these reservations, and be sure to give yourself plenty of time to save your work so that the classes can start on time. Thanks!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Video Mashup Contest

You've probably seen these now-classic trailer spoofs:

Well, at long last, you can create your own! The University is sponsoring a "Mashup Contest", encouraging Penn students to create their own trailers (no more than 4 minutes total, so it shouldn't be too hard putting one together) parodying a well-known film. Faculty will judge the entries, and prizes will be awarded.

Top prize is a Digital Video Camera! 2nd and 3rd prizes are an iPod Shuffle.

And the best part of all is that we're here to help you get it done! After all, that's what this lab is all about. All you need to do is pick a movie and decide how you want to spoof it. (Browse the library's video catalog for ideas) We'll sit down with you and show you how to use the software in the lab to turn it into the final product.

Entries are due by 9 pm on March 12th, 2007. There are more details about the contest here: http://prp.library.upenn.edu/06/mashupcontest.html

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lab Reservations, Thursday, January 18

Just a few reservations you should know about if you're working in the lab today (thursday). All 3 flatbed scanners are reserved from 2:30pm-4pm for a class. You're welcome to continue working on your projects, but please be aware that the scanners won't be available.

And tonite from 6pm-8pm, the entire table of computers on the far wall of the lab (computers #1A-#5A, if you read that little label across the top of your monitor) are reserved for another class.

In both cases, the instructors may also be lecturing to their students, and using the projection screen, however others may continue to use the lab quietly during the classes.

Two New Lab Consultants

Please welcome the two newest members of the Vitale Digital Media Lab Family:

Alex Meyer is an Economics major from the Philadelphia area.
Keith McKnight is a junior Digital Media Design major, also from Philadelphia.

You'll be seeing a lot of them around the lab, so come in and say hi.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Fixing the computers

Since we opened last April, some of the computers in here have gotten a little...quirky, and not all of them work as well as they should. This sort of thing just happens over time, and there's not much we can do to prevent it. So now we're in the process of reimaging all of the Macs in the lab. This basically means we're erasing everything on them and replacing it with a fresh copy of all of the software, which should make things run much more smoothly again.

As always, be sure you're not saving your files on the local computers when you leave, because there's no guarantee they'll be there when you return. If you're working on a project in the lab that you can't finish in one session, you can burn it to a CD or DVD, save it to your own portable hard drive, USB flash drive, or laptop, or we can save it for you temporarily on our network storage drive. Just ask the lab consultant on duty if you need help.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Nick's Portrait Photography project

Nick Salvatore, one of our more notorious lab consultants, worked on a project here in the Vitale Digital Media Lab for his photography course. He's graciously agreed to let us share it with you all.

I'll let him describe it in his own words:

This is my final project from Portrait Photography (FNAR 274) taught by Brent Wahl.

For this piece, I asked each of my subjects to choose an action to perform, and then I photographed them in the act. My intention was togive them a shot at wrestling control away from me and "taking over" the images. But I didn't feel like playing fair, so I made them do it blindfolded.

All of these pictures were edited and printed in the Digital Media Lab. The black and white images were shot on film and then converted to digital files using the film scanner. The color images were shot digitally and then imported onto one of the computers. I edited all of the images in Adobe Photoshop, then printed them using the poster printer. The resources at the lab were incredibly helpful, and I was able to get all of this work done in one day.

[editor's note: there is one current and one former lab consultant in the photos below. Can u pick them out?]

Want us to showcase a project you worked on in the lab? Email us at medialab@pobox.upenn.edu

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Paper Cutter

Announcing... the long awaited... the inspirational... the celebrational, the muppetational... (drum roll, please)

Rotatrim M54 Paper Cutter! (ta da!)

Every time someone prints a poster in the lab, they always ask, "Do you have a paper cutter?" to which we always answer, "No, but we have a pair of scissors." But a pair of scissors just won't cut it sometimes (no pun intended, I swear.) We considered getting a yardstick and an xacto knife, but our paper is 42" wide, and a yardstick is only 36", so we decided to go all out and buy the real deal for you guys. It can handle paper up to 54 inches wide. We'll either be keeping it on the empty computer table, or stowed away behind the poster printer, so if you need it but you don't see it, just ask and we'll get it out for you. Heck, we'll even let you cut things you didn't print in the lab. No need to thank us. It's what we do.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

School Daze

Get it? "Daze" instead of "days"? Isn't that cute? Because all the students are still in a "daze" after returning from vacation? Huh? Huh? Anyway...

Our hours this week are truncated while we gear up for the Spring semester. We'll be open this week M-F, 10am-5pm, and closed this Saturday and Sunday, 1/13 and 1/14. We plan to be open with our regular hours starting next Monday, 1/15.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Photoshop CS3 Beta

By now you've heard the exciting news that Adobe has released a beta version of Photoshop CS3. There are some great new features in the software (non-destructive filters, a complete revamp of the magic wand/selection tool, auto-align and blend of layers, Vanishing Point with multiple adjustable angle perspective planes, and more). It also marks a new (and significantly improved, IMHO) beta version of Adobe Camera Raw, and of Adobe Bridge. Not surprisingly, we've received a few questions about when we'll be upgrading the software in the lab to this version.

Adobe has set the date for the production release of CS3 as "Spring 2007," so we don't have a good sense of exactly when the software will even be available for purchase. We try not to install new versions of software in the middle of a semester, in order to minimize interruptions for anyone who has alreaday begun a project with one version. But we do try to keep the lab up-to-date with the most recent software available. Most likely, we will install Photoshop CS3 (and any other CS3 applications that have been released by that time) after the end of the Spring semester, and almost certainly before classes start again in the Fall. Our lab manager is currently working on making the beta version available on at least one of the Macs in the lab for those who want to try it out.

If you're interested in seeing some of the new CS3 features in action, the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) has put some short video tutorials online. Check them out.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Out with the Old: Brand New Robot

Despite some protest (and reluctance), we're retiring the robot we've been using on our "hours" sign on the door of the lab. We'll be replacing him soon with another creation from our robot-artist-in-residence, Jesse, perhaps with more of a Spring theme (since it's Spring Semester, even though it's still cold and rainy and yucky out). Stay tuned and keep checking the door of the lab for updates.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year. 2007 marks the beginning of the 2nd full semester of the Vitale Digital Media Lab. We're working over winter break to update the software in the lab and to spruce things up a bit for when you all return. You'll also be seeing a new face or two working in the lab, so stop in and say hello.